UAE: 14-year-old gets liver donation from brother
My father passed away six months back and, as the eldest son in the family, it was my responsibility to save him, says donor.
A 14-year-old boy has become the youngest in the UAE to receive a living liver donation from his brother.
Montasir Elfatih Mohyeldin Taha was diagnosed with biliary atresia in infancy, a condition where the bile ducts outside the liver fail to form during foetal development.
At 10 months, he had to undergo the Kasai procedure, which is done to connect a loop of small bowel directly to the liver so that the bile can drain into it.
His saviour, Khalifa, said: “My little brother needed me. I was very relieved when I was told that I can help be the cure to his illness. This was one of the easiest decisions that I have had to make.
“My father passed away six months back and, as the eldest son in the family, it was my responsibility to save him.”
Earlier this year, Montasir’s symptoms and blood tests revealed that he had started developing liver failure and was suffering from portal hypertension. Seeing the high risk of potential complications, his doctors in Sudan recommended that he undergo a liver transplant at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.
Dr Luis Campos, Director of Liver Transplant and Hepatobiliary at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, said this was one of the most complex living donor liver transplant surgeries that they have performed at the hospital.
“There were additional nuances that had to be taken into consideration because of his age, which made it even more challenging… Factors such as height and weight impact the surgery and after-care, and determining the dose of immunosuppressive medication during and after the transplant. There is also a risk of other infectious complications in paediatric liver transplant that do not apply to adult surgeries,” said Dr Campos.
The team evaluated Montasir’s mother and brother for a match in February. After careful discussion with colleagues in the US-based Cleveland Clinic, doctors here decided that his sibling would be a more suitable match.
Dr. Shiva Kumar, Chair of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the Digestive Disease Institute, said one of the biggest challenges during Montasir’s transplant was posed by the young patient’s Kasai procedure.
“While the Kasai procedure is commonly performed to prolong the need for a liver transplant in children, this is a major operation and makes the transplant more challenging to perform,” said Dr. Kumar.
“However, the surgeries of both brothers were successful and without complications. Montasir received a left lobe graft from his brother. This is a smaller portion of the liver than if we were transplanting a right lobe graft. This makes it a safer operation for the donor and helps them recover faster.”
The brothers are on their way to a full recovery. Khalifa is back to his normal life, while Montasir will be on an immunosuppressive regimen for the rest of his life.
Khalifa urged more people to consider organ donation. “The feeling of giving a chance to someone to live a normal life is incomparable. Seeing the result of your donation will fill you with contentment.”
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